Paradise Lost

Misogyny in Paradise Lost College

Paradise Lost, the epic poem written in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton narrates the biblical account of the Fall of mankind. Eve is the only character that is both female and human in the poem and Milton’s depiction of her is unquestionably sexist. However, it can be debated whether this depiction is simply a product of Milton’s culture, or if Milton is indeed a misogynist. Throughout the epic, there are many implications about Adam’s and Eve’s character traits which play a key role in their weaknesses that lead to the Fall. While Adam’s tragic flaw is loving too passionately, Eve’s tragic flaws are narcissism, vanity, and curiosity. This stark contrast is just one of many examples that prove that Milton’s discrimination against Eve as an independent, curious woman goes beyond the sexism found in the Bible or in Milton’s culture and rather is a direct result of his misogyny.

Milton introduces Adam and Eve in book four. Satan sees the pair in Paradise and states “For contemplation he and velour formed; / For softness she and sweet attractive grace” (4.295-296). Adam is strong and curious while Eve appears to be timid and sweet. Satan points out these differences almost immediately after seeing them for...

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